Web

Another Facebook privacy scandal — 3 million users’ data exposed by quiz

Mark Zuckerberg speaking on stage
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Facebook is once again at the center of a scandal over data mining on its platform, after it was discovered that another personality quiz hosted on the social network harvested the personal information of some three million people. The data was only supposed to be accessible through an approved research platform, but has since been discovered on a website with little to no protection.

Facebook has been embroiled in a number of data protection and privacy scandals in recent months, most notably surrounding the alleged election-interfering firm Cambridge Analytica. Much of the concern over that company’s involvement with Facebook was in how it harvested the data of users through quizzes on the site under the guise of academic research. It seems now that it wasn’t the only one.

In the case of this new data scandal, the “myPersonality” quiz was used to collect various pieces of information about users who took part in a psychology quiz on Facebook. Some half of those who took part allegedly gave their permission for data to be shared with third-party researchers. New Scientist reports that some 280 people at different technology companies were given access and, somewhere along the way, that data ended up on a website that was very insecure. It was password protected, but those login credentials were said to be easily found with a simple web search.

Although not as expansive as the data exposed in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, this latest leak did still contain results of the personality quiz, as well as personal Facebook details and even status updates of 150,000 users. The strongest link with the earlier data harvesting, though, is that the University of Cambridge’s Psychometrics Center controlled both data sets. Alexandr Kogan, who is a core component of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, was part of this project as well.

Another striking element of this story is how far back it goes. The Verge highlights that the data collection project may have begun in 2009 and there was some discussion of Cambridge Analytica acquiring the data, though apparently it was turned down due to its involvement in politics.

Facebook’s response to the story has led to a promised investigation into the myPersonality quiz and associated apps. Facebook has so far suspended 200 apps that could be involved in data harvesting in this manner. New Scientist however, highlights that Facebook has been aware of the quiz since as far back as 2011.

Want to improve your privacy on Facebook? Here are our top tips.

Mobile

Police bust a massive interstate SIM card hijacking ring

Law enforcement agents in Flordia and several other states have worked together to break up an interstate cybercrime ring that used hijacked SIM cards to steal cryptocurrencies and cash from victims.
Cars

Apple Car may make its debut in the middle of the next decade

Apple likely won't become a full-fledged manufacturer like General Motors or Ford, but the tech giant is diving into the auto industry pool. Here's everything we know about the company's automotive efforts.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this summer with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Castle Rock'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we've put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Gaming

The best PS1 games of all time

Take a stroll down memory lane with the 50 best games ever released for the original PlayStation.
Computing

Network routers with roaming enabled are likely susceptible to a new attack

Jens Steube discovered a new method to break into network routers while researching new ways to attack the WPA3 security standard. He stumbled onto an attack technique capable of cracking hashed WPA-PSK passwords.
Computing

Saving your favorite YouTube videos for posterity is quick, easy with these tools

Learning how to download YouTube videos is easier than you might think. There are plenty of great tools you can use, both online and offline. These are our favorites and a step by step guide on how to use them.
Computing

Hacker plays ‘Doom’ on John McAfee’s ‘unhackable’ BitFi Bitcoin wallet

The BitFi hardware cryptocurrency wallet isn't as unhackable as John McAfee claims. A 15-year-old bedroom hacker has managed to get Doom running on the device, suggesting its days may soon be numbered.
Computing

Having issues with Microsoft Edge? Here's how to fix the most common problems

If you're feeling frustrated with Microsoft Edge, or have run into a serious problem with Windows 10's built-in browser, take a look at these common issues and the solutions that can help you get back on track.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

Amazon Prime brings more perks than just free two-day shipping. Subscribers get access to a huge library of TV shows to stream at no extra cost. Here are our favorite TV shows currently available on Amazon Prime.
Music

Spotify vs. Pandora: Which music streaming service is better for you?

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.
Photography

The best place to print photos online: Seven top photo labs

Have you been looking around for the best place to print out your favorite photos online? Don't fret, we've pored through dozens of options and narrowed it down to the seven best.
Computing

The browser-based Monero miner Coinhive generates around $250,000 each month

Despite a fall in cryptocurrency mining, the Coinhive Monero miner is still highly active, generating around $250,000 each month. Coinhive also contributes 1.18 percent of the total mining power behind the Monero blockchain.
Computing

The Andromeda botnet still lingers as nations struggle to clean infected PCs

A report by Fortinet suggests that although the FBI and Europe ended the Andromeda botnet’s reign in late 2017, there are still infected PCs. Cleaning up these PCs isn’t progressing at the same pace across various regions.
Social Media

How to use Adobe Spark Post to spice up your social media images

Images are proven to get more likes than plain text -- but only if those images are good. Adobe Spark post is an AI-powered design program for non-designers. Here's how to use it to take your social media feeds to the next level.